Will this be the week Bears WR Wheaton starts to contribute?

When the Bears signed free-agent Markus Wheaton to a two-year, $11 million contract, they were hoping his speed and experience would help stretch the field and boost a mediocre crew of wide receivers.

After nine games, the Bears have no idea what Wheaton can achieve because he has missed five games and been a nonfactor in the four. With $6 million of his contract guaranteed, Wheaton has contributed just 1 catch for 9 yards.

A fractured finger sidelined Wheaton for the first two games. More recently, a groin injury kept him out of three games. The five-year veteran was active last Sunday but played 2 snaps.

“It was extremely frustrating,” Wheaton said. “But I am coming off an injury, so I just have to keep pushing and keep getting healthy, show them that I am healthy, and I'm sure it'll change.”

Dontrelle Inman, after just two weeks with the team, played 57 snaps last week and caught 6 passes for 88 yards on 8 targets.

“He (Wheaton) just needs to be healthy and get back into it, get in a rhythm with Mitchell (Trubisky),” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He hasn't played a lot with Mitchell. When you have a young quarterback, we need guys that we really know and understand out there.

“We've got to get him practicing. His role and reps should grow as he gets more comfortable, and Mitchell gets more comfortable with him.”

Wheaton was a full participant in practice last Thursday and Friday but mostly an observer on Sunday.

“He hasn't been practicing a lot,” coach John Fox said. “He kind of knows the language (of the offense); he just hasn't been out there very much. Now it's just getting re-acclimated back into football shape, back into game-ready shape. We'll see if he'll earn (more playing time) through practice and preparation.”

Wheaton says he's prepared for a bigger role.

“I'm ready to play,” he said after Wednesday's practice. “I think I had a great day today, so we'll see.”

On Friday, Fox hinted Wheaton's role could expand and believes he's more prepared to contribute.

“He's had a full week of preparation,” Fox said.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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